Where were you in ’88?
“Where were you in ’88?” was D’s way of ending arguments in the 90s when I was showing off about having ferreted out this or that tune which she wanted. My dance days didn’t start until the 90s. Hers with all the names I could only dream of. The 90s were great, mind. These thoughts were prompted by a BITD rumination from Drew at Across The Kitchen Table. It’s sometimes hard not to get drawn into that frame of mind that dance has lost its way over the last decade or so.
All of which reminds me that I’d meant to point out to anyone who was raving before the fall of Thatch, that a student from Sussex University is interested in your answers to the following questions (I’ve left my answers in FWIW).
Q: Years you went raving?
Q: What was the main reason you went raving?
The music. Like so many, I was a converted indie kid. Was into new wave and The Smiths. By late 80s getting disillusioned with music, the lack of anything new and exciting. Had never been into disco, so initially suspicious of rave. But with techno there was something with which to identify.
Q: Did you ever think about politics whilst you were raving? [I don’t think he means whilst you were actually raving which would be an odd thing to do but at that time]
Ach. The politics thing is over done. Dance music was essentially hedonistic. There was never a political philosophy beyond peace and love. But that was politics at its vaguest. There would have been even less of the politics had the authorities not over-reacted to illegal raves in south east England (from whence Orbital got their name). Perhaps the closeness to the defining 80s experience of the Miners strike impacted their reaction. And then the tabloid furore over E forced the government to react. This all culminated in the repetitive beats provision of the Criminal Justice Act. Once ravers were allowed to dance they lost any interest in politics.
Q: Do you believe raves promoted racial equality?
Perhaps initially. But it didn’t last long. It was very white, despite black artists.
Q: Do you believe raves promoted communalism or collectivity?
Of a sort but vague really. Only to the extent of a rave as a collective experience and sharing water with the person next to you.
Q: Do you believe raves empowered women or promoted sexual equality?
No. It was male artists, male djs. For a while a female friend said there was less hassle for women but once the beer came back it all went back to how it had been before.
Q: Do you believe rave culture in the late 80s and early 90s could be deemed to have elements of protest against Thatcher and her government? If so, expand.
As above. Only because they couldn’t dance. They had no interest in political change. There was little directed at Thatcher’s government because of what it was. Only because they were closing down raves.
If you were around at the time and fancy offering your thoughts to these questions, please email email@example.com
And to prove there’s still good music today, here’s a lovely ambient techno remix from Olaf Stuut. Has a great shuffly. occasionally bloopy, soul.
Blurb: The Netherlands-based producer took the haunting elements of the original and brought an ambient element to this interpretation. Esh said of the remix, “the interweaving of synth lines and percussive layering built a soundscape that personifies the mystery and intrigue that we originally gave “Trigger”.” It premiered on All Things Go. “Trigger” was released in November, and was well received by blogs like Indie Shuffle, Clash Magazine, and more. Esh is preparing to release an EP this spring.